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My Fave Feel-Good Films

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You may have watched it hundreds of times before.  You may know every line by heart.  But that’s pretty much the point.  It’s a familiar hug when you need it most, and a lift when you’re feeling low.  Following some sad news recently, my family’s first thoughts were to spend time together, go out for a meal and a catch up, and then to put on a film.  Although I’m not sure Premium Rush (2012) quite fit the bill in the end, below are my 8 favourites that do every time.

Crazy Stupid Love (2011)
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The film we should have put on that evening, and the one that I have on now, is Crazy Stupid Love.  Having really enjoyed Blue Valentine (2010) and Drive (2011), I was really looking forward to the release of Ryan Gosling’s latest at the time.  Emma Stone was great in Easy A (2010), I had loved Steve Carell in 2005’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin (I was yet to discover the superb US version of The Office), and Julianne Moore is Julianne Moore.  The four stars in question are four of the most likeable and charismatic personalities in cinema today.  When you add them in to one film it’s difficult to go wrong, but in the Gosling/Stone combination they actually came across one of the most likeable on screen couples you can imagine.  I’m very very exciting about the upcoming La La Land and have had the trailer on repeat the last few days, but that is at least in part to how well they work together here.

The first half of the film tells a pretty straight forward life coach story where Gosling helps Carell turn his life around after his wife (Moore) asks for a divorce.  Their back and forth is hilarious, and will put a smile on my face whatever else I have going on (watching it back now as I type, Gosling’s life coaching also seems to be talking to the male audience a lot of the time – possibly another reason I come out of watching it feeling better about myself).  The film cleverly eventually brings together its stories in a way you didn’t (but will feel you probably should have) seen coming.  The story is seriously feel good, laugh out loud funny, and it has the best Dirty Dancing scene since Dirty Dancing (1987).
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The Princess Bride (1987)
Charlotte and I had this DVD sitting on our shelf for a while.  I think we were worried it was one of those films (like most Disney movies) that if you didn’t watch when you were a child, is never quite going to mean the same if you watch it for the first time as an adult.  We watched it eventually one typical Sunday evening when we were winding down and struggling to commit to a film any heavier than this.  I’m sure The Princess Bride will have taken another level again had I watched this when I was younger, but I was taken aback at how much I enjoyed it.  Sticking to the fairytale formula, it therefore feels familiar even watching it the first time.  It’s warm, good natured, hilarious, and full of brilliant characters with even better quotes. 
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 I wish Columbo would read me a book when I’m ill :(

School of Rock (2003)
It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect role for Jack Black than Dewey Finn, a failed rock singer who disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prestigious school.  That Jack Black is funny in this doesn’t nearly cover it, but the support he receives from his child actor class is note perfect in every sense.  Sometimes films come together and it’s difficult to think of a way of improving it.  This is one.  I dread to think how many times my brother, sister and I watched this DVD and replayed the soundtrack.  How good is “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks?
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Forrest Gump (1994)
I feel like Forrest Gump can often get a bit of a rough ride.  It’s often criticised as nothing more than emotional manipulation, and forever a film that “should never have won the best picture academy award” (to be fair, how did it beat Pulp Fiction and Shawshank Redemption?).  I’ve always found that a bit unfair.  Forrest Gump will always be one of those films that you will struggle to turn off if it’s ever on TV, no matter how far in it is.  It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry, but if you’re ever after a heart-warming, feel good film, then this is an obvious choice.
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Catch Me if You Can (2002)
Another “Ah, I’m so tired, oh wait… crap… Catch Me if You Can is on TV… goodbye evening” film.  If this is ever on, it’s a physical struggle to tear myself away from it.  Christopher Walken is the Dad we never had, and in Tom Hanks and Leonardi Di Caprio, we have a battle of wits we wish both could win.  Somehow Spielberg balances the two characters so well, and makes them likeable in completely different ways.  Di Caprio pulls off the young and innocent Abagnale just as well as the older, manipulative model.  Also, Amy Adams is in it and that was a Pointless answer once.  Still proud.
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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
Bueller… Buueeller… Buuueeellerrrr…

matthew broderick ferris buellers day off movie quotes life moves pretty fast
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When I was younger, to me Matthew Broderick and Jean Reno were always those guys in Godzilla (1998). Thankfully I grew up and had the sense to watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Léon (1994). As good as the latter is, the Ferris Bueller character, and his wide eyed, optimistic outlook on life, and making the most of every day is the one you need to watch if you’re ever feeling down in the dumps. The humour is on point, the slapstick works, it has one of the best dance scenes ever, you can’t help feeling great about life come the end come the end, Charlie Sheen has a bit of a cameo… what more do you need?

You’ve Got Mail (1998)
The classic ‘ITV3 on a Sunday afternoon’ fall back.  It may be because I saw this first, but I’ve always felt this is so much better than Sleepless in Seattle (1993), another romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  The presentation of the internet, and email as a brand new and exciting innovation is pretty hilarious nowadays (prepare yourself for AOL, and dial up tones), but that actually adds to its charm.  Hanks and Ryan fall for each other over emails without ever realising that their new pen pal, and their new business rival across the road are one and the same. Their chemistry is brilliant, and although you know exactly where it’s heading (whether it’s the first or the 21st time you have seen it), you can’t help but fall for it. There aren’t many more sweeter, and warm-in-your-tummy moments than Tom Hanks running through Central Park shouting, “Brinkley! Brinkley!!”

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The Sound of Music (1965)
I don’t think my Mum would ever forgive me if this didn’t make the list.  A family favourite, I can remember watching this with my Granny during family breaks to Whitby, with my sister at Christmas, and I’m not sure how Charlotte’s got away with not being forced to watch it yet… it’s ridiculous how many times we have watched Julie Andrews spin around atop those mountains.  It’s a classic because of its brilliant songs, a charming cast of children that could so easily have been annoying, and the stern but very likeable Christopher Plummer.  But it’s Julie Andrews that carries the film, and takes it to another level.  For many she will always be Mary Poppins, but for the Cantillon family, she will always be Maria.

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